Illinois and Nebraska finished 1-2 in the Big Ten women's indoor track and field meet a year ago, separated by three points, 115 to 112. It was the closest battle for the indoor title since 2002.
The Gophers were a distant seventh with 56 points.
The Maroon and Gold isn't considered a title treat this year either but could win several individual titles and maybe a relay or two.
Last year Illinois took first in five events and second in two others. Penn State and Purdue are the only Big Ten teams in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches national team computer ratings. The Nittany Lions are No. 11, the Boilermakers No. 17.
Alena Brooks of the Gophers has the top seed times in the 600- and 800-meter runs, 1:28.57 and 2:04.90. ... She was fifth in the 600 last year.
Molly Kayfes is the second seed in the 5,000 (16:19.12), Liz Berkholz the fourth (16:31.86) and Laura Docherty the seventh. ... Docherty and Kayfes took second and third in the 5,000 last year, respectively.
Jess Heraut has the third best total in the indoor pentathlon (4,008), Megan Geyen is the fifth seed in the 400 (54.41) and Katie Murgic is the sixth seed in the pole vault (13-2 1/4).
The Gophers' distance medley is seeded second, the 4x400 relay third. The 4x400 took fourth a year ago -- 22 hundreths of a second off the school record -- and three of those runners are members of the relay again: Geyen, Te 'Shon Adderly and Brooks. The new member is Titania Markland. They set a new school record this year of 3:38.10 in the Bill Bergen Invitational in Ames, Iowa.
Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow @RomanStrib on Twitter. E-mail Roman.
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